Sunday, August 8, 2010

Down to the River

As you know, I have occasionally marked a significant date with a major event uniquely my own. Like September 11, 2001, when I learned that terrorism wears a lot of masks, including that of DMV Supervisor.

The Fourth of July is no different. Yes, for most Americans it is the anniversary of that day when Colonial Patriots sent King George the Somethingth a big ol’ psychic finger in the form of a very fancily worded document known as The Declaration of Independence.

(Little known fact: Thomas Jefferson originally called it 'The Neener-Neener Britain Butt Manifesto', which after a great deal of congressional deliberation and emotional speech making on C-Span, was finally pronounced “Freaking Stupid”. Jefferson’s ink well and little nippy bottle were confiscated until he agreed to change the name, which explains why all paintings of him dated after 1776 show him holding a tankard of Diet Coke and giving John Adams a wedgie.)

But for me, July 4, 1985 was memorable for a far more personal reason. That was the day when Fate took a long look around the cosmic plane and decided to hand my husband a healthy dose of karmic justice.

Considering that it’s usually me lined up in the cosmos’ cross hairs, it is particularly gratifying that this moment of “that’s what you get” settled a score for me that had been building for a week.

We had been married for three months, and were on a river trip through the Grand Canyon. For five adventure-filled days, we made our way down the Colorado River. This was July in Arizona, which meant that there were two temperature choices: 130 degrees on the boat, or 50 degrees in the water. At one point we passed through an area of sheer black cliffs, known locally as Brainbaker Canyon. I’m pretty sure I’d have a Ph.D by now if I hadn’t fried my noodle that day.

Every evening, we would camp on shore. While the rafting company crew prepared dinner, the rest of us pitched our tents, washed our hair, and generally tidied up after a long hot day on the water.

Oh, and we would…kinda…go potty.

Now the latrine facilities and the rules governing them were both pretty straightforward: Accommodations were made for taking care of…um…Number Two. But Number One was handled in the river. You just sorta casually waltzed out into the current, like maybe you always chose to cool off in water so frigid even your teeth turned blue, and then, before your essential parts began snapping off and floating away, you…you know…went.

I cannot begin to describe the amount of concentration this took. First, you had to completely override the natural instinct to not do what you were about to do in front of other people. Goodness, this was every adolescent’s worst nightmare: You’re in a large group of your peers, all laughing and being extremely cool, and suddenly you discover that you’re marking the landscape. And they can all SEE you!

The self-talk involved in just going into the water in the first place was worthy of a Pulitzer.

Then, as you stood in water that just minutes before had been a fairly ambitious glacier, you had to…well…relax enough to get things moving. This required settling into a nearly Zen-like trance: “Be one with the river. Let the river flow around you. Let it flow through you. Let it flow [insert appropriate preposition] of you. Aaaahh. That’s right. Yeeaaah…”

It was tough, let me tell you.

Well, as a naïve newlywed nitwit, each time I ventured into the river to get a little closer to nature, I made the tactical error of telling my husband my intentions.
So once I was well into the water, he would start hollering from the shore, “HEY!! WHATCHA DOING OUT THERE?? NEED ANY HELP?? YOU CAN’T SWIM, YOU KNOW!! JUST BE CAREFUL, OK??”

Which of course alerted everyone else in the group as to my location and obvious activities.

Evil, evil husband.

He thought he was sooooo funny. He’d be hooting as I got back to the tent (mortified and threatening grave bodily injury) chortling over his clever joke, which to his way of thinking just never got old.

For five long, distracted days I put up with this nonsense. Out to the river. “Encouraged” by my oh-so-helpful husband. Back to shore, breathing out threatenings. Chortling and knee-slapping from funny man.

So one night, I decided to go incognito. I grabbed a bottle of shampoo and announced that I was off to the river to wash my hair. He was still wrestling the tent and only half listening as I headed into the water.

Mwa. Ha. Ha.

I rinsed out the shampoo, and began the Lamaze breathing that made the rest of my river activities possible. Just as things started ‘flowing’, I was startled by a sudden shout and a huge splash just inches in front of me. Down stream, as it were.

My husband had been trying to spook me by sneaking up on me and then diving in while I was distracted. Another favorite trick. Really, he's frickin' Jerry Lewis.  Get this guy a telethon.

Funny thing was, he came up out of the water coughing and sputtering. While I stood there in stunned amazement, he pulled himself together and said, “Wow! I got a mouthful of water that time!”

Hee hee! D’ja hear that??

Then, as if that weren’t poetic enough, he went on to observe, “Have you noticed there’s a warm patch right here? It’s cold everywhere else but warm in this little spot. Weird, huh?”

I was speechless. All I could do was fix him with a telepathic stare and feel the grin spread across my face as the realization of what had just happened slowly settled on him.

His eyes grew wide, he threw back his head and wailed, “NOOO!!! Tell me you weren’t…AAAUUGH!! cough cough ICK!! spit spit YUCK!! gag gag Why didn’t you SAY something?!”

Well, goodness, what was there left to say?

“Hey, baby, how about joining me out here for a little karmic comeuppance? Dive right in!  The water’s fine.”

Yeah, it’s fine all right. Especially that warm spot…right…there.

(Originally published in 2009, but posted again because I'm pretty sure he hasn't learned his lesson yet.)


Cheeseboy said...

Now THAT is some husband/wife bonding right there.

I am pretty sure the closest my wife and I have come to this moment is when I accidentally knocked her toothbrush into the toilet and she made me get it out with my bare hands.

It was an electric toothbrush. The expensive kind. She was mad.

Still, no way it tops your story though.

Rebecca said...

Oh, my! Hahahahahaha! That's hilarious, DeNae!

Serves him right.

Oh, and I got an extra chuckle because back when I was pregnant last year and commanded by my OB to take it easy, I spent a lot of time on Babycenter forums.

The gals liked to share information, for example, what they taught their children to call various body parts. That quickly developed into what nicknames the ladies called their, well, lady bits.

"Hoo-hoo" was a term some of them used, so when I saw you use that there...hahaha. So sorry!

If this is too bad just delete my comment. ;)

val of the south said...

The wv is SPLAX - I think that says it all!!

RevSharon said...

So real. So true. So funny! Thanks!

ExpressMom said...

You're hilarious!

T said...

I hate the LOL thing - it's just so overused, but I really did - because THAT is just TOO flippin' funny.

Baby Sister said...

Hahaha. That was awesome!! I love karma. :)

Subee41 said...

OMG I loved that one! Serves him right! LOL! So did he learn to keep his mouth shut when you went into the river after that? (What am I saying...he's a man! Of course he probably didn't learn!)

NatureGirl said...

It was just as funny the second time around...

Kazzy said...

I have a complete mental block when it comes to communing with nature. I will drive down the canyon before leaving a part of myself behind, behind a tree.

Your hubby kinda asked for it, huh?

Kimberly said...

I don't normally doing the laughing out loud thing, because I'm ever so much too cool for that but oi! You got me!

LKP said...

AWWWWWWWWWE-some!!!!!!! =D

tammy said...

Karma is a dish best served - warm?

Hilarious! And I know what you mean about the peeing in front of people. Finally, after 18 years, I can now pee off the back of my in-law's boat without being embarrassed that everyone knows what I'm doing.

DeNae said...

Hey, Rebecca, I changed it. Cuz you're right; that li'l phrase means "that" around here, too!

seashmore said...

Best. Blog. Ever!

JoLynne Lyon said...

That's hysterical. By the way, my boss discovered your blog and emailed it to all her friends, so you now have a Northern Utah enclave...

Kristina P. said...

Haha, I love you. Adam and I play fun little pranks on each other. He is always threatening to pour cold water on me in the shower. That's OK, because I'm willing to pour cold water on things in the bedroom.

Lara said...

Just as funny today as the first time I read it!

We were up at Lake Superior the other day and Bria needed to go to the bathroom. I told her just to go in the lake and she was horrified. So, I took her up to the very disgusting outhouses and she was horrified. But she still chose the stench over the lake.

That Girl said...


I was in danger of waking up the kiddies right there.

I am SO reading this to my husband.

Garden of Egan said...

I remember that hilarious post. I still can't believe that he hasn't learned his lesson though.
Poor guy.

My verification word is:
Ya, that's what DeNae did in the frigid water.

JoeinVegas said...

That started the marriage off right. And you can still kid him about it all these years.

AS Amber said...

Oh my heck one of my most favorite stories EVER!!!! It's funny every time I read it, hear it, tell never stops being funny!

My bladder shuts off if another woman even walks into the public restroom. Have you heard the story of Alison & me whale watching in Cabo? That's a good one. I'll tell you next time I see you. Or maybe I'll do a post about it! You've inspired me! Ha!

Love you!

Rebecca said...

Loved the post...Karma is so fun when it happens to other people. I am still waiting for it to hit my hubbie after he forgot my birthday..
And loved garden of egen's WV, so perfect!
Thanks for reposting!

Allyson & Jere said...

You really do crack me up!

I'm just so curious as to what made 3 month newlyweds decide a river rafting trip was a good idea. I mean really....5 days and no "good times" if ya know what I mean? Just sayin.

But, in the end, I DO love that he got his comeuppance! HA!

DeNae said...

Allyson, what makes you think there were no 'good times'? We were newlyweds, after all, a species noted for its ingenuity in the face of desperate circumstances.

JennyMac said...

You are hilarious.

and this: when I learned that terrorism wears a lot of masks, including that of DMV Supervisor.


Elizabeth said...

Ok, I haven't laughed that hard in quite some time. Oh, man--let me dry my eyes here. Insanely funny! And I loved the Declaration of Independence "rest of the story"--who knew. And usually I'm not a blog post dropper {pa-romise} but you might appreciate my tirade on the local DMV/Nazi office:
Anywho, thanks for the great laugh!

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Hee hee hee hee hee hee ha ha ha I remember this one.

Hey, lub the neener neener document. He shoulda called it EAT IT, ENGLAND!

How the helk are you anyway my hee heelarious friend? Getting lots o work done? I'm taking a writing field trip tomorrow.


Mikki said...

Sweet karma!!! That's So funny. I love it. Thanks for re-posting.